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Joey Bart back with Giants as season winds down, Kyle Harrison scratched from Padres start



© Darren Yamashita | 2023 Sep 9

The Giants are using the final five games of the season to get some of their young talent at-bats, and that will now include their former second overall pick.

Joey Bart, the embattled catcher who was once a top prospect, is on the Giants’ active roster. San Francisco recalled Bart from Triple-A while shelving pitcher Jakob Junis (cervical strain) on the injured list for the rest of the season.

The Giants now have three catchers on the 28-man roster in Bart, Patrick Bailey and Blake Sabol.

Bart, 26, is among the several Giants who can use the remainder of the season as valuable experience. San Francisco started five rookies in Monday night’s 2-1 victory over San Diego and have three more slated for Tuesday.

Bailey’s spectacular play has vaulted him well in front of Bart on the organizational hierarchy, but the rookie has confessed that he’s physically gassed. Bart could soak up some of his playing time with the postseason no longer in play.

Bart has played only 30 games for the Giants in 2023 after being the club’s top backstop in both 2020 and 2022 (Buster Posey returned for 2021, relegating Bart to a full year of Triple-A). He entered spring training in a four-way competition between Sabol and veterans Roberto Pérez and Austin Wynns, making the Opening Day roster but failing to stick permanently. With Sabol, a Rule 5 Draft pick, the club didn’t have as much flexibility to bring Bart up and down.

Like he has in his entire MLB career, Bart struggled from the plate, posting a 47 OPS+ (100 is league average). But his defensive metrics, particularly those that measure framing, were rather impressive. And in Triple-A, Bart has had much more success, recording 51 hits in 60 games.

As for Junis, his career as a Giant may be over. The 31-year-old swingman did almost exactly what was expected of him, registering a 3.87 ERA in 86 innings this year. Junis will enter free agency as a pitcher capable of both starting games and coming out of the bullpen in a variety of roles, which should have broad appeal on the open market.

With a crop of young pitchers either already at the big-league level (Harrison, Keaton Winn, Tristan Beck) or potentially able to contribute next year (Carson Whisenhunt, Mason Black, Hayden Birdsong), the Giants will probably be interested in distributing Junis’ innings elsewhere in 2024.

  • Kyle Harrison was supposed to start Tuesday night’s game, but was scratched due to illness roughly half an hour before first pitch. Harrison was also under the weather for his last start, when he gave up two runs in 5.1 strong innings.

    Harrison will likely make another start this season. He’s faced both the Padres and Dodgers already, so whenever he takes the bump next, he’ll be familiar with the opposing lineup — and they to him.

    John Brebbia will open Tuesday night’s game. Alex Wood and Sean Hjelle are the likeliest pitchers to get bulk innings.

  • On KNBR today, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci predicted that the Padres could make Juan Soto available via trade this offseason as they look to cut down their payroll. That came hours after BetOnline released odds that listed Mike Trout’s next teams (with the Giants at 4-to-1) if the Angels decide to trade the three-time MVP.

    Some have speculated that the Mets could look to move slugger Pete Alonso, and other star players may become made available, too. For the Giants front office, this winter could be their chance to strike. After five years in charge of the organization, it’s time for Farhan Zaidi to think big and take a risk. The team — along with its apathetic fan base — needs it.

  • As The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly noted in his column following Logan Webb’s “big changes” comments, the Giants played Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” after losses earlier this season. The tradition hasn’t continued in the second half of the season.

    That very well could have rubbed some in the clubhouse the wrong way. An even worse look? Keeping Macklemore’s “Glorious” on the post-win playlist. They really couldn’t have done any better than Macklemore?